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International Journal of Learning & Development

ISSN 2164-4063
2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sustainability in

Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria
Kofo A Aderogba
Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, Tai Solarin University of Education
Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria
E.mail: kofoaderogba@yahoo.com

Accepted: November 2, 2011


Published: December 23, 2011

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijld.v1i2.1190

The enhancement of the greenhouse effect in driving increases in temperature
and many other changes associated with climate have become great concern to
research. The objective of this paper is to estimate the amount of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere in Lagos Metropolis. Literatures on road and air
travels were read; and also journal articles on pollution and greenhouse gases,
global warming and climate change. Newspaper cuttings, magazines, and
electronic media sources of data and information were used. Trends in the
growth and development of railway locomotives, marine activities, vehicular
movements and air travels in the metropolis were studied and correlated with
the estimated greenhouse gases emitted. There is positive correlation.
Vehicular movements and air travels have increased by over 50% in the last
twenty years. Greenhouse gases are increasing by the day. There must be
deliberate checks on gas emission from automobiles, plants and machineries
and in the aviation industry. The world is not at rest to arrest the effects of
climate change and global warming. Nigeria and Nigerians and particularly
Lagosian, the government and research institutions should be parts of the
Key words: Greenhouse Gas, Emissions, Predicaments, Economic Value, Lagos Metropolis.

Background to the Study:

Generalized retreats of glaciers throughout the world, regular rise in sea level, multiplicity of
heat waves and droughts, cyclones and torrential rains on the biosphere are some groups of



International Journal of Learning & Development

ISSN 2164-4063
2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

symptoms of climate change, (Rojey 2009; and Dow and Dowing, 2006). In 1988, a decisive
step was taken with the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on
the joint initiative of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nation
Environmental Programme (UNEP). The third report, published in 2001, of the IPCC led to the
adoption of control measures and sanctions designed to ensure effective application of the keys
to Kyoto protocol (IPCC 2001). The IPCC has come up with several reports. The report,
published in 2007, confirms and improves the main conclusion of the previous reports. Over
2,000 scientists from 156 countries participated in the IPCC studies that are wishing to reach a
consensus of opinion on climate change phenomena and the challenges. There are more and
more evidence of the correlation between an increase in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emission and
the increase in the average temperature observed over the entire planet: Since 1860, the start of
the industrial era, the average temperature on the surface of the Earth has increased by 0.8 oC,
(Brian, 2004; Kershi and Simon, 2005; and Hansen, Schnitzler, Strassmann, Doney, and
Roeckner, 2007). According to them, the sudden rise in average temperature since the start of
the industrial era seems to be abnormal compared with past trends, both in view of its relative
amplitude and the speed of the change on a geological time scale.
The activity which has increased over the past centuries, could partly explain the current
warming, but certainly not the amplitude of the variation observed, nor the fact that since 1980
global warning has accelerated while solar activity has remained stable. According to the IPCC
model, if the trend continues, the atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) content could double by
the end of the century, reaching a value of 750ppm, (and possibly exceeding 1,000ppm),
causing disastrous climate transformation; and the average temperature increase could reach 2
- 40C by the end of the century, possibly even 60C (Flannery 2005; and Nicholas 2007) while an
increase of more than 20C is considered unbearable, (Rojey, 2009).
By and large, CO2 is massively emitted into the atmosphere and it behaves like a greenhouse
gas. The atmosphere is transparent to the incident solar radiation transmitted in the visible light
spectrum, but some of the solar energy received by the Earth is reflected back as infrared
radiation. This radiation can be partly stopped by some gases present in the atmosphere, the



International Journal of Learning & Development

ISSN 2164-4063
2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

green house gases, and returned to the earth whose surface warms up accordingly. Carbon
dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas. Other gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide and ozone
produced by human activity contribute to the thermal imbalance of the Earth. Therefore, the
objective of this paper is to identify the sources and estimate the amount of the anthropogenic
greenhouse gases over Lagos Metropolis. It also suggests some palliative measures for
reducing its long term negative effects for physical and economic sustainable development.
The Study Area Lagos Metropolis:
The Metropolis is located on the creek in the extreme south west of Nigeria. That is, it is
boarded in the south by the Bight of Benin. The population was about 500,000 people by 1965,
but grew to 3million in 1975. Ogunbiyi (2011) assert that Lagos is presently experiencing
phenomenal population explosion; and it is being projected to be the third largest megacity in
the world by 2015. Many are of the views that despite the 10 million figures declared by the
National Population Commission in the last census exercise, the citys best population is 40
million. Whereas the annual population growth in the developing world is 3% and Nigeria is
2.7%; that of Lagos stands at a stunning 8% and is likely to accelerate, (Ogunbiyi, 2011).
The Metropolis is the commercial nerve center of Nigeria and indeed West Africa with peculiar
infrastructural challenges. Its sheer human density driven by an increasing population due to
endless survival and economic driven immigration, its ports and waterways, its border with
Benin Republic, its high concentration of banks, industries, companies and other commercial
enterprises makes it a very complex megacity with multiplicity of challenges, and to govern.
Toady, Lagos handles about 9,000 metric tones of refuse daily, more than what the whole of
Ghana is generating. The branch networks that some banks have in Lagos outstrip what they
have in the whole country (Ogunbiyi, 2011). According to him, a recent study reveals that
over 20,000 people from across the world move into Lagos for various reasons on a daily basis.
She is the bane through which the world views Nigeria. Incidentally, it appears the successive
Federal Governments have not taken cue from countries and governments that similarly
relocated their national capitals: Germany, Brazil, Malaysia, Australia and Tanzania.



International Journal of Learning & Development

ISSN 2164-4063
2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

The Greenhouse Gas:

Greenhouse gases often trap heat in the atmosphere (Cox, Betts, Jones, Spall, and Totterdal,
2000; Brian, 2004; Fahey, 2007; and Seetharam, and Udaya-Simba, 2009). Some of the gases
such as carbon dioxide occur naturally and are emitted to the atmosphere through natural
processes (mainly ice cores, water vapour, colossal volcanic out gassings, decomposition of
limestone, atmosphere/ocean heat exchange, mountain building and continental drifts); and
various human (anthropogenic) activities, (Raupach, 2007). Others, such as fluorinated gases
are created and emitted solely through human

Figure 1: Average Contribution of Greenhouse Gases in the Air.

activities. Principal among them that enter the atmosphere because of human activities and
their average composition is as shown in Figure 1; and they are best described as follows
(IPCC, 2007):

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil
fuels, solid wastes, trees and wood products, and as a result of other chemical
reactions. It is removed from the atmosphere when it is absorbed by plants as
part of the biological carbon cycle;



International Journal of Learning & Development

ISSN 2164-4063
2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

Methane (CH4) which is emitted during the production and transportation of

coal, natural gas, and oil. Its emission also results from livestock, poultry and
other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid
waste landfills;

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as

well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste; and

Fluorinated Gases which includes Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and

sulphur hexafluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted
from a variety of industrial processes. These are sometimes used as substitutes
for ozone-depleting substances. They are typically emitted in smaller quantities,
but referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (High GWP gases)
because they are potent greenhouse gases.

The Greenhouse gas inventory is an accounting of the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to
or removed from the atmosphere over a period of time, say one year, (Seetharam, and
Udaya-Simba, 2009). A greenhouse gas inventory also provides information on the activities
that cause emissions and removals, as well as background on the methods used to make the
calculations, (Brian, 2004). Scientists use greenhouse gas inventories as inputs to atmospheric
and economic models, (Fahey, 2007). Policy makers use greenhouse gas inventories to track
emission trends, develop strategies and policies and assess progress, (Rudrappan, 2011).
In United States of America, to track the national trend in emissions and removals since 1990,
EPA develops the official US greenhouse gas inventory each year. The National greenhouse
gas inventory is submitted to the United Nations in accordance with the Framework
Convention on Climate Change. In addition to the US inventory, greenhouse gas emission can
be tracked at the global, state and local levels as well as by companies and individuals. For
instance, it is known that individual produce greenhouse gas emission through everyday
activities such as driving and using air conditioning or heating. US EPA develops and provides
an online calculator for estimating global, regional, local and personal emissions, (Wikipedia,


International Journal of Learning & Development

ISSN 2164-4063
2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

Similarly, IPCC (2006 and 2007) published internationally accepted inventory methodologies
that serve as a basis for all greenhouse gas inventories, ensuring that they are comparable and
understandable. Specifically, the 2006 IPCC Guidelines provides methodology for estimating
national inventories for anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of
greenhouse gases. It was prepared in response to an invitation by the Parties to the UNFCCC. It
is in five volumes.
However, Blacksmith Institute (2007 ) and IPCC (2007) present and assert that the
contributions of the greenhouse gases depend on their Global Warming Potentials (GWP)
which measures the absorption of infrared radiation emitted back into the atmosphere, and
these actually form major greenhouse gases that contribute to the thermal imbalance of the
earth, viz:
Greenhouse Gas

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Methane (CH4)
Nitrous Oxide




Ozone Sulphur hexafluoride


Generally, it is measured in metric tons of Carbon equivalent, (MTCE); or metric tons of

carbon dioxide equivalent, (MTCO2E). That is: (1 short ton x -3.72 MTCE / short ton) (1
short ton x 0.01 MTC / shot ton) = 3.73 MTCE, (IPCC, 2007).
Data Sources and Collection:
Literatures were extensively perused on the greenhouse gases in developed and developing
countries. Similarly, relevant references were contacted on pollution and pollution control. The
Worlds Most Polluted Places: The Top Ten of Blacksmith Institute (2007) were perused the
sites and locations; major pollutants and sources; scope of the problem and impacts on human
health; and the clean up status. Newspaper cuttings, magazines and journals on climate change,
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the carbon credit concept, IPCC initiatives and
progress, and others were extensively read; and used.



International Journal of Learning & Development

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2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

Data and information about atmospheric composition were collected from Federal
Meteorological Station, Oshodi and from the Meteorological Section of the Federal Air Port
Authority, Ikeja. Readings were taken for five years of the air composition and activities of
man at selected locations greatly marked by arable agricultural activities; high density
residential areas; abattoir and livestock farming land use; agglomerated industrial areas;
markets and stores; nodal areas, rail and water transport land use; landfills and waste disposal
sites; and others across the Metropolis. Interview was conducted with the Director, Federal
Airport Authority, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning,
Chairman, Road and Transport Workers Association of Nigeria, (Lagos State Branch), among
others. They all provided salient facts, figures and information on pollution, emission, controls
and challenges; and the way forward towards sustainable environment. Chairman, Lagos State
Waste Management Board provided information and data on wastes, management, and
emission challenges in particular. Lagos State Central Licensing Office provided data and
information on the number of vehicles registered and probably plying the metropolis roads. It
was understood that many vehicles registered in Lagos are not plying nor used in the
Metropolis but there are reasonable proportion that were registered outside the Metropolis but
brought for use in the Metropolis too. No rigorous statistical analytical techniques were used
but simple tables, percentages and charts. The Chemistry and Physics of emission are beyond
the scope of this work. The words Lagos, Lagos Metropolis, and The Metropolis, were
used interchangeably to mean Lagos Metropolitan Area that is made up of 16 Local
Government Areas within Lagos State of Nigeria.
The Metropolis has come a long way: There is high concentration of urban activities and
programmes that result in accumulation of wastes and generation of air, water and land
pollution. There have been massive introduction of contaminants into the natural environment
and causing instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the system physical systems and or
living organisms. Air pollution and pollutants include but not limited to particulates, sulphur
dioxide, and heavy metals (nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, selenium, phenols, and hydrogen
sulphide) and


International Journal of Learning & Development

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2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

Table I: Selected Land Use, Locations and Estimated Total Global Warming Potential
Land Use


Estimated GWP

Landfill and Dumps

Oke-Odo, Yaba, Ajegunle, Oke-Afa


High Residential Area

Mushin, Oko Baba, Ajegunle


Hospitals and Schools

Idiaraba, Yaba,


Low Residential Area

Victoria Island, Ikeja (GRA)


Agricultural Activities

Ipaja, Ajah, Agege


Transport Land Use

Ido, Mushin, Mile 2


Livestock and Poultry

Apapa, Mushin, Abattoir (Agege)


Industrial Estate (Land Use)

Ikeja, Apapa, Isolo

Markets and Stores

Balogun, Oshodi, Mushin


Marine Activities

Marina, Wharf, Badia



others. The estimated Total Global Warming Potential is highest at Industrial Estates of Ikeja,
Apapa and Isolo (103), landfills and dumps of Oke-Odo, Yaba, Ajegunle and Oke-Afa (101),
Marine land use of Marina, Wharf, and Badia (96), Market and Store of Balogun, Oshodi,
Mushin and Mile 12 (95), and livestock and poultry of Apapa, Mushin, and Agege Abattoir
(98). It is lowest at the Low Residential Areas of Victoria Island and Ikeja Government
Reservation Areas (GRA), 21. See Table I. There is nowhere it is less than this (21) within the
Also, it is estimated that the emitted Greenhouse Gas is concentrated is the Metropolis and the
immediate environment; and sector contributions to the atmosphere is as showed in Table II.
Apart from the solar radiation (34%), the highest comes from the Industrial Gases and
Pollutions (22%). Also apart from Other sources (06%), Cattle and cattle rearing areas (09%)
have the lowest. There is no locality or land use within the Metropolis that contribute less than
Table II: Estimated Emission of Greenhouse Gas, by Sources, to Thermal Imbalance
Sources of
Greenhouse Gases

Estimated Size Estimated Contributions to

of Sources (%)
Thermal Imbalance (%)


International Journal of Learning & Development

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All Agricultural Activities



Use of Fossil Energies



Cattle and Paddy Fields



Industrial gases and Pollution






Solar Radiation




Table III shows the average Greenhouse Gas Emission by transport modes per Kilometer.
Contributions from Pedestrians and bicycles per Kilometer are negligible. The greatest
contributions come from Heavy Duty Multiple Engine Trawlers (1127/km), Heavy Duty
Multiple Engine Air Crafts (506/km) and Heavy Duty Trucks (757/km). Common Motor
Cycles (36/km) and Tricycles (59/km) do contribute to Greenhouse Gas Emission too. See
Table III. But there are more vehicles on the roads, which means, more emission than there are
from other forms of transport modes. Therefore, on the whole, Diesel Buses, Light Trucks and
Heavy Duty Trucks are the major sources of emissions from transportation modes. Also, there
is positive correlation between the volume of vehicles and the emission experienced in the
Metropolis. As the number of vehicles is increasing so also the amounts of Greenhouse Gases
in the air do increase too. The number of vehicles was 1.33 million in the year 1992 but
increased to 1.83 million, 20 years after, 2010 that is, by about 59.35% and the emission
increased by 60.24%. See Figure 2.



International Journal of Learning & Development

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2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

Table III: Average Greenhouse Gas By Transport Mode Per Kilometer

Mode of Transport

Green House Gas Emission/Vehicle/Km

(in metric ton carbon equivalent [MTCE])





Motor Cycle




Gasoline Car


Diesel Car


Gasoline Mini Bus


Diesel Mini Bus


Gasoline Bus


Diesel Bus


Light Truck


Heavy Duty Truck


Average Engine Boat


Train/Railway Locomotives


Average Engine Vessel


Heavy Duty Multiple Engine Trawler


Light Double Engine Aircraft


Heavy Duty Multiple Engine Air Craft


Apart from emission from transportation sources, major source of power supply is standby
generators that are of at least one unit per household and or business unit on the average, that is,
regardless of capacity and serviceability. There is considerable emission from this source.



International Journal of Learning & Development

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2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

Within two decades, between 1992 and 2010, the number of vehicles on the roads doubled and
so also the amount of emission from this source. It is not unlike therefore that, at this rate, both
may be more than double in the next two decades. Aside the aforementioned sources of
Figure 2: Correlation between Number of Vehicles on the Roads and Estimated
Emission (1991-2010)

No of Veh.












emission, electricity generating set which is a major source of power in and around the
metropolis, in various capacities and shapes, are massively contributing to the emission. There
are variations in the amount on hourly and daily basis: the concentration is highest during the
day hours. It reaches the pick in the afternoon between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm but starts
decreasing to the lowest between the hours of 2:00 am and 6:30 am when it starts to rise again.
Generally, emission is lowest during weekends; but there is no significant variation between
the months of the year. Again, regardless of the sources, it is an estimated that 339,754t CO2 is
generated annually.
However, introduction of contaminants into the natural environment has been causing
instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem physical systems and living
organisms including man. These increases are in geometrical proportions and by the day.


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2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

These have led to emission of Greenhouse Gases in various proportions into the atmosphere.
Incidentally, as the urban activities kept on growing so also do the anthropogenic sources of
emissions and the direct and indirect effects. Substantial parts of these are not immediately
noticed by both the producers and the affected, (Blacksmith Institute, 2007). Long run effects
could be very devastating; and it may not be too long before the present precarious condition
will double in the metropolis and the immediate environ if appropriate checks are not put in
Being the bane through which the world views Nigeria, granting a special status to Lagos
Metropolis and the state at large remains the best possible ways to drive Nigerias development
with needs that align with its growth. It is now time for Nigeria to imitate Germany, Brazil,
Malaysia, Australia and Tanzania, which after relocating their capitals, did not hold back
developmental programmes targeted at the formal capitals. The need to accord a special status
for the Metropolis should not be dragged into political imbroglio. Any investment in Lagos
State and in the Metropolis in particular will be a necessary blueprint for the development of
the nation.
Both State and Local Governments of the Metropolis should venture into the establishment of
Carbon Project. It is relatively cheap to establish and run the business. Establishment of carbon
project will boost any Community Based Developmental Programmes and increase the states
Internally Generated Revenue (IGR): If an estimated 339,754t CO2 could be generated per
annum, it will translate to 5,096,310 USD, that is, at 15 USD/tCO2. Asides, it will ultimately
help reduce Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere such as trapping and sequestering Carbon
Dioxide (CO2).
Recommendation and Conclusion:
The environmental impacts of the urban activities requires that the three tiers of government,
organizations, philanthropies and individuals (and international organizations including
Non-governmental Organizations) focus more attention on the causes, sources, effects and
reduction of GHGs in the urbanized cnters, not only of Nigeria but anywhere on the globe. All



International Journal of Learning & Development

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2011, Vol. 1, No. 2

hands must be on deck to reduce the industrial and municipality pollution into the environment
because it subsequently leads to gas emission.
There must be slow growth in the population of the Lagos Metropolis to be able to reduce
anthropogenic activities. Emphasis must be on healing degraded or destroyed natural
vegetation and general landscape so that the former can serve as powerful net removers of the
atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases. Institutional mechanism such as Innovation Center
should be established for adoption of technologies and products for climate mitigation and
adaptation purposes. Climate mitigation and adaptation strategy should be reframed as an
agenda of hope, growth, innovation, opportunity and an instrument for poverty reduction. The
Government of the metropolis must take advantage of the Clean Development Mechanism
(CDM) and the carbon credit concept as the United Nations is encouraging the developing
countries. There must be deliberate checks on gas emission from automobiles, plants and
machineries and in the aviation industry. The world is not at rest to arrest the effects of
climate change and global warming. Nigeria and Nigerians and particularly Lagosian, the
government and research institutions should be parts of the efforts.
Lagos Metropolis is not an island. Nigeria and of course, Africa must have a change of
directions and a holistic rethink. Particularly for the entire nation, in order to reconcile climate
change and economic growth, Nigeria needs to have good governance and strong institution
along with economic and political stability. Community participation is desirable for effective
implementation of adaptation and mitigation strategies. Members of communities may have to
be trained for skill development to manage weather vulnerabilities as climate risk managers of
each local community.
The time is now; all countries have to redouble their efforts to scale up climate change
mitigation and adaptation initiatives that will enable them embark upon a carbon neutral high
growth for a socially equitable climate resilient sustainable development. The Metropolis,
Nigeria and of course, African should not be left in the wood.



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